Maharahstra leads in conviction of Doctors for Sex Selection


 

, TNN | May 16, 2012,

NEW DELHI: Actor Aamir Khan, whose first episode of tele-show Satyamev Jayate focused on sex selection, will be happy to hear this.

In 2011, 21 clinics and 22 doctors were convicted under the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, for carrying out sex selection of an unborn child.

Census, 2011, showed girl child is still a curse and unwanted. And, the girl child population has fallen to an all-time low since Independence. The sex ratio for 2011 stands at 914 girls down from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001.

Maharashtra led the way in 2011, with the highest number of convicted cases against doctors at 15, followed by Haryana (7) and Madhya Pradesh (2).

Majority of the punishments included three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh.

Dr Ambadas Kadam from Maharashtra was convicted on November 14, 2011, with a three-year jail term and had to cough up the highest compensation of Rs 1.3 lakh.

All the convictions in Haryana resulted in a three-year jail term, and also had to pay fines between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000.

The two convictions in MP resulted in imprisonment of one month and a fine of Rs 1,000. Maharashtra, however, made an example of such cases. The minimum jail term in all the convictions in the state was two years. Fines charged were Rs 70,000, Rs 60,000, Rs 52,000 and Rs 38,000 in majority of the cases.

According to Union health ministry’s figures, only around 6% of cases filed against doctors involved in sex selection practices in the 17 states with the most skewed sex ratio had ended up in convictions till March, 2011.

Altogether 805 cases had been filed in court against doctors till March 31, 2011, ever since the revised PCPNDT Act came into force. Only 55 convictions were recorded during the same period.

The rest of the cases were either still going on or dropped for “poor investigation and insufficient evidence against the accused”.

Till March, 2011, convictions were highest in Haryana (23), followed by Punjab (22), Gujarat (4), Maharashtra (3), Delhi (2) and Chandigarh (1). The highest number of cases against doctors was filed in Rajasthan (161), but none has resulted in conviction till date.

Maharashtra filed 139 cases, Punjab (112), Gujarat (82), MP (70), Delhi (61), Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (54), Andhra Pradesh (19), Bihar (10), Uttarakhand (9), Chhattisgarh (5), Jharkhand (3) and Chandigarh (2).

During the same period, 168 ultrasound machines were sealed in Gujarat, followed by Haryana (133). Maharashtra sealed 82 machines, Rajasthan (76), Odisha (68), Delhi (48), Punjab (26), UP (37), Jharkhand (13) and Andhra Pradesh (12).

“Recent meetings impressed upon states on the importance of follow up of a court case, building a strong case for prosecution, putting in place the mechanism for legal assistance and engagement with state legal services authorities, besides training workshops for judiciary and public prosecutors,” an official said.

An official added, “India’s conviction rates are shockingly low. That’s because doctors, who carry out the search and seizure operations, aren’t good at filing legal cases and presenting a full-proof investigation, helping violators go scot-free.”

The 17 states were recently told by the ministry to identify and map their worst-affected districts, blocks and even localities.

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